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Barnett holds out on health deal.

Broadcast: 20/04/2010

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd got nine - tenths of his historic health deal across the line at today's
COAG meeting. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is refusing to allow the Commonwealth tho
withhold part of the state's GST to fund the health scheme.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Today's health showdown between the Prime Minister and the state premiers
was so nearly a clean win for Kevin Rudd. Close, but no cigar yet.

When the NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and later Victoria's Premier John Brumby, after some
financial lubrication, agreed to the health plan, it seemed the Prime Minister was about to win the

But the only non-Labor premier in the room held out. Western Australia's Colin Barnett is refusing
to allow the Commonwealth to withhold part of his state's GST to fund the scheme, instead promising
to hand the money back once it's in the Western Australian Treasury. Mr Rudd has told the 7.30
Report he's confident he can go ahead with the other states anyway and we'll have that interview

First, some detail on the deal from political editor Chris Uhlmann.

CHRIS UHLMANN, REPORTER: High noon came and went on the second day of health talks in Canberra
without agreement.

JOURNALIST: So do you think today's going more slowly than you imagined?

COLIN BARNETT, WA PREMIER: It's going very slowly.

JOURNALIST II: Will you be here tomorrow?

COLIN BARNETT: I hope not.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Things were getting a touch desperate. The West Australian delegation reported it
had run out of clean shirts and the captive NSW Premier took to posting progress reports online.

KRISTINA KENEALLY, NSW PREMIER (YouTube video): Hi, I'm here at COAG. We're at a break, as we
continue as first ministers to try to work out a deal for national health reform.

CHRIS UHLMANN: As the sun rose this morning the Commonwealth knew it was in for a tough day.

FRAN KELLY, RADIO NATIONAL HOST: Is this proving harder than you thought it would be?

NICOLA ROXON, FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER: We always knew that health reform was gonna be incredibly
difficult, but COAG does have an opportunity today to grasp the nettle of health reform.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Before the formal meeting began, the Prime Minister had swung another vote for his
health plan.

KRISTINA KENEALLY: I think today we are very likely to achieve agreement.

CHRIS UHLMANN: NSW, like Victoria and WA, had been resisting the Commonwealth's demand that it
withhold one third of the state's Goods and Services Tax to fund the plan. But the promise of more
money and the guarantee that the state would have more say in how it was spent got NSW over the

KRISTINA KENEALLY: We are in a position to be able to have the Commonwealth retain a third of our
GST for direct funding of hospitals in NSW, but it's important that we have those safeguards in

CHRIS UHLMANN: Early on, the other two states were holding the line against allowing the
Commonwealth to change the agreement which says that every penny of the GST is distributed to the
states. They were prepared to dedicate a third of it to health, but wanted to retain control of
their tax base.

JOHN BRUMBY, VICTORIAN PREMIER: Victoria's had a view; WA has had a view that the intergovernmental
agreement on the GST is important. The states and territories and the Federal Government signed up
to that a decade ago. And it's important for us that we receive that GST, but we're offering today
to pay into the fund to ensure that there's an equivalent amount.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And that was beginning to get on the other leaders' nerves.

MIKE RANN, SA PREMIER: I just hope that some states don't spoil it for the rest of us.

ANNA BLIGH, QLD PREMIER: We think these reforms are too important to be jeopardised by some
squabbling around what is effectively an accounting measure on the GST.

CHRIS UHLMANN: In mid-afternoon, the early departure of the Tasmanian Premier signalled that an
announcement was imminent.

DAVID BARTLETT, TASMANIAN PREMIER: I'm very pleased to be the first premier to sign.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: We've got a good outcome for the nation.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The rest soon followed.

KEVIN RUDD: Well today we've reached an historic agreement to deliver better health and better
hospitals for the working families of Australia.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The carrot to get the agreement was large.

KEVIN RUDD: On 1st July this year, the National Health and Hospitals Network will start delivering
the following: first, 1,300 new hospital beds. Two, an historic agreement to reshape mental health
services and help 20,000 extra young people get access to mental health services. Three, over 6,000
new doctors. Four, an additional 2,500 aged care beds. Also, emergency department waiting times
capped at four hours. Elective surgery delivered on time for 95 per cent of Australians. A
Commonwealth takeover of primary care and a Commonwealth takeover of aged care.

KRISTINA KENEALLY: This represents $1.2 billion in the first four years.

JOHN BRUMBY: Adds something like $890 million to our health budget over the next four years.

ANNA BLIGH: For Queensland, what we will see now is a $4 billion package over the next 10 years.

CHRIS UHLMANN: So the final price tag for the Commonwealth over the next four years is high.

KEVIN RUDD: Around about $5 billion, and that is to fund the services that we've just described.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But it took more than cash to get John Brumby over the line. He gave up one third of
the GST, but secured a place for the states between the Commonwealth and the local health networks.

JOHN BRUMBY: Under the new arrangements today, the state will be the system manager. That was
really important us to in terms of the health system, it's a very big health system in Victoria,
it's $10 billion a year. You need a single manager, and the state is the system manager and that's
part of the agreement today. The second is the new funding arrangements as part of the new health
and hospitals fund, into which there's now a transparent payment from the Commonwealth, from the
state and through that the payments to the health networks are made rather than directly as was
proposed previously to those health networks.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But the deal is yet to be sealed.

COLIN BARNETT: Well not wishing to rain on the parade, but WA will not be signing - WA will not be
signing the agreement as it stands. The third aspect of the Commonwealth essentially taking one
third of the total GST pool is not acceptable to me and it is not acceptable to WA.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Prime Minister believes WA will sign on, but the Premier has set a high bar.

COLIN BARNETT: I'm sure if the Prime Minister agrees with what I propose, we'll reach agreement.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And if he doesn't get what he wants, the Premier believes the whole deal is sunk.

COLIN BARNETT: I would think you need every state and territory to sign up to have a complete deal.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Commonwealth disagrees with that opinion and is promising to provide legal
advice to prove it. But for the moment, after weeks of stumping the country, the Prime Minister has
90 per cent of a deal, and that's a lot closer than where he stood this morning.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political editor Chris Uhlmann. Search the 7.30 Report

Rudd on health deal

Broadcast: 20/04/2010

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks with Kerry O'Brien following today's COAG meeting.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: A short time ago, I spoke with the Prime Minister. He was in our Canberra

Kevin Rudd, the big question is of course whether WA has the capacity to kill the deal or whether
you can go ahead without them.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: Well, this arrangement, this agreement between the Australian
Government and seven of the eight governments of Australia is valid in its own right. We will of
course release underpinning advice to anyone who's interested later this evening or tomorrow.
That's clear-cut. I'm also confident, Kerry, that we'll get there in the end with WA as well. It'll
be a hard negotiation. It's been a hard negotiation with the other premiers and chief ministers,
but we need to deliver health and hospital reform and we need to start delivering it now.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it your understanding that the element that is stopping this for WA in the
Premier's mind is simply money, that they got a crook deal as far as they're concerned out of the
grants commission distribution of money. So, it's about money rather than a principle of the GST?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, that's a question you need to put to the Premier himself. To be fair to him - and
I've got to know Colin over a long period of time now - he's been fairly consistent on this point.
Both in his private conversations and his public comment, I don't denigrate his position, I just
think we need to work through it, because I don't think we should allow an accounting device to
stand in the road of, frankly, delivering support for better health and hospital services for the
accidents and emergency of Western Australia and for the elective surgery patients who are waiting
to get operated on in WA.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Are you saying that it's an accounting device whether it's paid - whether the GST is
paid via you or via the state? That's the 30 per cent. I mean, what is the accounting device you're
referring to?

KEVIN RUDD: Well let's be very clear about the Commonwealth's position: for the first time in the
history of the Federation, the Australian Government's becoming the dominant funder of the public
hospital system of Australia. That's never happened before. The reason we think that's important is
that the states are collapsing under the - frankly, the financial weight of what our hospitals will
need for the future. However, in becoming the dominant funder for future, that's taking on 60 per
cent of the burden ourselves, we need to start with 60 per cent of the base funding, and that's the
reason why we have asked for the states to contribute a slice of their GST to create that base of
funding to start with and then we grow the system from there. That's the deep reform here. When I
said an accounting device before, remember in the case of WA, they would be probably allocating
those funds to existing health services anyway. And therefore I think the Premier's position is one
of a little bit of an accounting device whereby it gets paid from the Commonwealth to Canberra -
ah, sorry, to Perth and back to Canberra. It is in our judgment far better that we are just
transparent about what's happening here and that's the basis of the Commonwealth's proposal.

KERRY O'BRIEN: When you say you don't want to let an accounting device get in the way, for whom? If
it's just an accounting device, does it really matter who gives ground?

KEVIN RUDD: Seven of the eight states and territory governments of Australia concluded today it was
fundamentally important, and why's it fundamentally important? It's absolute transparency about
who's funding the system for the future and that, in dominant terms, is us.

Look, the key thing, Kerry, is to make sure that when it comes to delivery of the extra 1,300
hospital beds, the additional 2,500 aged care places, the additional services for 20,000 young
people in the community with mental health problems, that that is actually being delivered on the
ground, together with the 6,000 extra doctors - on the ground in WA. I don't believe that these
sort of things should stand in the road of making sure that happens for the good people of WA. They
need these better services as soon as possible, like the rest of their fellow Australians.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But on the basis of your legal advice is it possible that you can have one signed
comprehensive agreement with all of the other states and a separate agreement with WA, if that's
what it has to be to get this thing going?

KEVIN RUDD: It is perfectly valid for the Australian Government to have signed agreements with all
those jurisdictions, that is, another five states and two territories who put their hand up for
this agreement today. And similarly, possible for other arrangements to be entered into as well.
All I'm saying is: I actually believe - and our advice is completely fortifying of this - that any
suggestion that a WA holdout would undermine the agreement for 90 per cent of Australia is not
valid. It is simply not valid.

But, Kerry, let's just go back to it. I'm confident. Colin and I know each other very well. He's
put a strong position in these negotiations. I don't think we are in an impossible situation when
it comes to working something through because I want to make sure these services are delivered to
the good people of WA. Their health and hospitals are as important as any other Australian as far
as I'm concerned.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I don't think it's ever been absolutely clear from the outset, Mr Rudd, but when you
establish your local hospital networks, who will they answer to? Will they answer to the state
alone? Will they answer to the Commonwealth alone? Will they somehow answer to both?

KEVIN RUDD: Let me be very clear about this, Kerry. Our national health and hospitals network is
founded on two principles, one which is funded nationally and run locally. Funded nationally
through what I just described before, that is for the first time in Australia's history us being
the dominant funder, run locally through local hospital networks right across the country.
Communities of interest, made up of a number of hospitals within a defined community, where you
have local clinicians and local nurses and others with much stronger powers of local
decision-making. As far as their service contract agreements are concerned, our document was very
clear from the outset that they'll be negotiated between themselves and individual state
governments. But what changes is this: we the Australian Government, by bringing in a system
nation-wide of what's called activity-based funding, will for the first time be providing actual
payments for the real services delivered by those local hospitals rather than on the basis of
simply an arbitrary grant from the State Government. That's what changes here; it's what drives the
efficiency and the effectiveness of this system. Local hospital networks, dominant funder being us
and then using a system of activity-based funding which delivers real outcomes for those local

KERRY O'BRIEN: So when you establish your national health fund or pool of money and the
Commonwealth puts its in and the states puts its into that fund, does that total pool then have
complete transparency in how it's spent? Can you guarantee that the days are over where the states
can at times be suspected of funnelling that money somewhere else other than to where it's supposed
to go?

KEVIN RUDD: Kerry, absolutely, and that is why we have brought this in through activity-based
funding. Activity-based funding says if you're delivering a hospital service out there in a metro
area or a regional area, a rural area, our view is that you should be, as a hospital, paid for that
service physically delivered. How does that change at present - from the present? At present, you
have state governments often arbitrarily saying, "There you go: that's your budget for the year. We
know it's not enough that you'll actually deliver more services than that, but we don't care." This
new system drives efficiency by bringing the funding along with each service that it's delivered.

Secondly, on the transparency question, what we have brought about - and this is a very significant
element of the reforms put forward today, including by Premier Brumby - that is by using funds
within each state, we are going to bring together as a common fund the direction of funding from
the Australian Government and the states through to the local hospital networks. And the whole
principle is transparency: funded by the Commonwealth as the dominant funder, activity-based
funding tracing where the money goes per hospital service and transparently reported on. That's
what we need for the future.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And can you guarantee for the whole of Australia for all public hospitals that not
one hospital will close as a result of this formula of activity-based funding being applied

KEVIN RUDD: Absolutely. And we've been clear-cut about this. You see, what we've got is 764 public
hospitals in Australia and often being kept together by teams of doctors and nurses going beyond
the call of duty just to make the system work at present as it really finds itself increasingly at
tipping point. Of the 764, you got about 165 who are the larger hospitals, that is those who are
delivering large-scale accident emergency services and surgical services, etc. They'll form the
core element of the activity-based funding arrangement. The others are very small hospitals,
usually in rural areas and these will be funded by what we call block funding arrangements,
enabling those smaller hospitals, offering providing lesser levels of service to continue in the
future even if they're only occupied spasmodically because of smaller rural populations. But we owe
to it our friends in the country, in the bush, to make sure that their services continue as well.
That's why I'm confident of providing that guarantee.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very briefly, to go back to what we talked about at the start, is it possible that
we will see the Federal Government introducing two sets of legislation through the Parliament to
allow two deals to allow two sets of health agreements?

KEVIN RUDD: Kerry, I am really confident that Colin and I will find a way through this.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But as a last resort, but as a last resort, potentially two sets of legislation for
the Senate to kick over?

KEVIN RUDD: Kerry, I'm always a one-step-at-a-time man. I reckon we're gonna get there on this one.
Better health, better hospitals through a new national health and hospital network. I think the
people in WA want this as much as anyone else. Ask anyone queuing for accident and emergency
tonight at the Charlie Gairdner Hospital in Perth whether they got a problem. It'll be the same
sort of stories you'll get from Westmead in Sydney, that is, we actually need more services. This
government is acting to deliver this, what I believe to be historic reform, the biggest reform
since Medicare for the Australian health and hospital system.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Kevin Rudd, thanks for talking with us.

KEVIN RUDD: A pleasure. Search the 7.30 Report

Greens historic deal

Broadcast: 20/04/2010

Reporter: Conor Duffy

After a month of speculation Tasmanians finally have an idea of the shape of their new government,
and in an Australian first two Greens MPs will be in cabinet positions in a David Bartlett led
Labor Government.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: After months of accusations, backroom negotiations and speculation,
Tasmanians finally have an idea of the shape of their new government, and in an Australian first,
two Greens MPs will be in Cabinet positions in a David Bartlett-led Labor Government.

During the election, Premier Bartlett repeatedly denied he'd do a deal with the Greens, likening it
to selling his soul to the devil. Now he's gone further than any Labor leader before him and
actually invited Green GPs Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor into the heart of government. Conor Duffy
reports from Hobart.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: Tasmania's election has been one of the tightest state contests in years
with the proportional representation system delivering a perfectly divided Parliament of 10 Labor
MPs, 10 Liberals and five Greens. After weeks without a government, a historic deal has finally
been struck that will see Greens leader Nick McKim and his fellow MP Cassy O'Connor welcomed into
David Bartlett's Labor Cabinet.

DAVID BARTLETT, TASMANIAN PREMIER: Well I'm very pleased and it is indeed a historic day in
Tasmanian politics.

NICK MCKIM, TASMANIAN GREENS LEADER: This is a historic opportunity for Tasmania and for the Labor
Party and the Greens Party to show that co-operative politics can work.

CONOR DUFFY: As expected, Nick McKim will take a ministry, but what's been more surprising has been
the elevation of Cassy O'Connor. She's the least experienced of the Greens MPs and will be
appointed as Secretary to the Cabinet, which means she'll assist various ministers.

CASSY O'CONNOR, GREENS, MP: And I'm really proud. We're talking about history here. Two Greens with
seats at the Cabinet table and it will give us a far greater capacity to deliver good outcomes for

CONOR DUFFY: For David Bartlett and his Treasurer Michael Aird, it's an extraordinary political
backdown. Both men had previously ruled out any agreement with the Greens leader in the strongest
possible terms.

MICHAEL AIRD, TASMANIAN TREASURER (17th August, 2009): There will be no deals, no accord, no

DAVID BARTLETT (24th Feb.): Because a backroom deal with the Greens is a deal with the devil and I
am gonna - I am not gonna sell my soul for the sake of remaining in power.

MICHAEL AIRD (13th August, 2009): I will not be serving in any government that has Nick McKim or
Kim Booth or any other Green in it.

CONOR DUFFY: Labor's backdown on the unequivocal election pledge not to share power with the Greens
has the Liberals crying foul.

On election night, Liberal leader Will Hodgman had given what was effectively a victory speech and
he expected to take government.

WILL HODGMAN, TASMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: I am concerned what we will have is an unstable
arrangement that is built on deceit, on political self-interest, on deception to Tasmanians.

CONOR DUFFY: It's the first time Greens MPs have made it into Cabinet anywhere in the country and
some believe the shift from outsiders to insiders may change the party forever.

ANTONY GREEN, ABC ELECTION ANALYST: They're gonna have to take responsibility for decisions rather
than stand on the sidelines and complain about the decisions of the other parties.

CONOR DUFFY: While there have been some celebrations today, the new Labor-Green government will
face a tough time in its first sessions here at Parliament House. Over the past decade Labor has
been in power, the Greens have been their most vocal critic. There have been bitter personal
attacks, and it'll take some major policy backdowns for this arrangement to work.

RICHARD HERR, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that the next year year or perhaps eight months to a year
of parliamentary activity is going to be very difficult for both sides.

CONOR DUFFY: Could an issue like forestry, over which Labor and the Greens have been at war for 20
years, bring about the collapse of this Government?

RICHARD HERR: Oh, it can collapse over any number of things.

CONOR DUFFY: Those cracks were already on show today. Greens MP Kim Booth revealed he voted against
the deal in the party room on the grounds that he couldn't work with the premier in good

KIM BOOTH, TASMANIAN GREENS MP: I made it very clear at the beginning of our discussions in the
party room that I would not accept an offer, were it to be made by David Bartlett, because I
couldn't in conscience sit in a government with them.

CONOR DUFFY: Another complication is the personal relationship between the two Greens Cabinet
members Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor. Until now it's been considered a personal matter that's
largely off limits to the media, but the Cabinet appointments are likely to bring the relationship
under new scrutiny.

RICHARD HERR: Well it's an unusual arrangement. It will certainly affect the dynamics in some way
or another. One hopes that it doesn't affect it in a way which is adverse to proper Cabinet
discussion and debate. That's something that the Greens have taken a risk with and they'll have to
make sure that it does work appropriately.

NICK MCKIM: Look, as I've continually said to you guys, look, I'm not going to comment on that
personal relationship any further than I already have.

CONOR DUFFY: The new ministers will be sworn in tomorrow and this unlikely alliance will face its
first serious test when Parliament meets sometime in the coming weeks.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Conor Duffy reporting from Hobart. Search the 7.30 Report

Two-headed fish raise chemical concerns

Broadcast: 20/04/2010

Reporter: Peter McCutcheon

A special task force has been set up to investigate two-headed fish and other deformities at a
hatchery in Queensland.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: We reported last month on criticism of Australia's pesticide regulator
for allowing the use of chemicals that have been taken off the market elsewhere in the world.
Critics of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority also point to an alleged
case of chemical poisoning at a Queensland fish hatchery. A special taskforce set up to investigate
two-headed finish and other deformities at the hatchery has so far found no clear evidence of
chemical poisoning. While its final report isn't due until next month, the 7:30 Report has obtained
the findings of a Queensland Government veterinarian presenting further advice that pesticides at
least are in part to blame. Peter McCutcheon reports.

PETER MCCUTCHEON, REPORTER: Gwen Gilson is sick of cleaning, but she feels if she doesn't scrub
down everything her fish farm and livelihood will be destroyed.

It must be very frustrating.

GWEN GILSON, FISH HATCHERY OWNER: Yeah, it's absolutely devastating.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: The owner of the Sunland Fish Hatchery is trying to remove every minuscule drop
of pesticide that may have drifted across from neighbouring properties.

These chemicals, she believes, are possibly responsible for large-scale fish kills and a range of

GWEN GILSON: They've got no eyes, short dumpy tails, they had two heads, three tails, three bodies,
their guts were all hanging out - just horrendous deformities.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: The official line from authorities is that this is something of a mystery and
there's no clear evidence of chemical poisoning. But the 7:30 Report has obtained an extensive
series of internal reports from a Queensland Government veterinarian that identifies pesticides as
a culprit.

MATT LANDOS, PRIVATE VETERINARIAN: The upshot of that is it points to how weak the state regulation
of chemical use is.

actually shows that by and large the regulation is working and working well.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Pesticide use is often an essential part of Australian horticulture. Spraying
rigs like this one are used in the nut orchards surrounding the Sunland Fish Hatchery.

And these are the macadamias just here?

GWEN GILSON: Yeah, they surround us completely.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: So not just here, but all around?

GWEN GILSON: Yep, that's correct. On three sides of my little farm.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Four and a half years ago, Gwen Gilson discovered many of her fish were dying.
The hatchery's neighbour cut back on some spraying, but the problem wouldn't go away.

GWEN GILSON: The fish that didn't actually die, all their embryos or their fry were deformed as
they were hatching.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: The Queensland Government responded by setting up a special taskforce.

RON GLANVILLE, QLD CHIEF VETERINARIAN (Jan. 2009): We're keeping an open mind on exactly what the
cause of this is, 'cause there are a range of possible causes.

GWEN GILSON (Home video): My mullet died. This is the male's pond.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: So far this taskforce has produced two interim reports that mention chemicals as
being a possible and in some cases likely contributing cause of deformities, but also finds there
is no clear evidence to support this.

However, a series of findings submitted last month by Biosecurity Queensland's principal veterinary
officer Dr Roger Chong fills in some of the gaps in the evidence.

MATT LANDOS: All of that data clearly points towards agrichemicals.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Dr Matt Landos is a private veterinarian who was on the taskforce and has worked
with Dr Chong. He says it's significant that the Biosecurity Queensland vet found clear evidence of
Macadamia spray drift.

MATT LANDOS: There is sufficient evidence to undertake preventive action. And all of his preventive
actions are suggested at protection from agrichemicals.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: If Dr Chong's reports are borne out, they raise some serious questions about
pesticide regulation, because the neighbouring farmer was not only doing everything within the law,
he was operating at what the industry considers to be best practice.

JOLYON BURNETT, AUST. MACADAMIA SOCIETY: Our best practice guidelines require that you don't spray
when winds are strong or blowing in the direction of neighbours.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Jolyon Burnett heads the Australian Macadamia Society.

JOLYON BURNETT: Obviously this sort of publicity is not good. It's very frustrating because we
actually have, I believe, an unparalleled record of both food safety and good environmental

MATT LANDOS: The farmer I think has taken quite some considerable measures to be compliant to the
legislation. But what we're seeing is that over the fence we're getting mass mortalities of animals
and this tells me that the restrictions on the label do not have enough safety margin built into

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Labelling and regulation is the responsibility of the Australian Pesticides and
Veterinary Medicines Authority. The APVMA is not commenting on the problems at the Sunland Fish
Hatchery until the Queensland taskforce finishes its investigation. But this week the authority
announced a review of the risk of chemical spray drift.

But the hatchery may not only have problems with spray drift from the neighbouring nut farm. Dr
Chong's report says in some cases the evidence strongly points to the Noosa River being the source
of potential chemical toxins affecting Gwen Gilson's Australian bass and sea mullet.

MATT LANDOS: It is unlikely that those wild fish were exposed to chemicals because the time they
were collected was not during spraying season. It was outside of spraying season.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: So is there something wrong with the Noosa River?

MATT LANDOS: We have to have a significant question mark over the Noosa River.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: And the taskforce has begun looking at whether other animals have been affected
by nonylphenol pesticide drift, including chickens, dogs, horses and even the residents themselves.
The head of the taskforce, Jim Thompson, declined to be interviewed on camera, but he did issue a

"The investigation by the taskforce requires a range of scientific skills. ... No single scientist
covers all the expertise needed. (And) ... There will be different views from different groups. ...
It is very difficult to get definitive data."

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Gwen Gilson continues to operate her hatchery and has now called in the lawyers.

REBECAA JANCAUSKAS, LAWYER: She's commencing legal proceedings to recover compensation for the
significant financial losses that she's suffered.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: But in the meantime, Gwen Gilson says she'll close down operations by the end of
the year.

GWEN GILSON: Look at my fish. My fish are showing the damage is being done. They are dying.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That report from Peter McCutcheon in Queensland. Search the 7.30 Report